Having a relative, especially an immediate family member such as a parent, sibling or child with bowel cancer, can increase your risk of developing bowel cancer.
For example, if either of your parents were diagnosed with bowel cancer before age 55 you would be considered to have a moderate bowel cancer risk. If you have three close relatives diagnosed with bowel cancer at any age, you would be considered to have a high bowel cancer risk. In both examples, it is advisable to see your GP for individual advice about bowel cancer surveillance or screening.
Screening & Surveillance
Bowel Cancer Australia recommends participating in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk. For people at average risk of bowel cancer, medical guidelines recommend screening using a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) every 2 years from age 50.
However, if you have one relative diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 55 years or older, screening should be considered every 2 years from age 45. More regular surveillance may be recommended for people with a family or personal history of bowel cancer and/or if there is an otherwise high bowel cancer risk.
Diet & Lifestyle
The choices you make can influence your bowel cancer risk. For the latest information on modifiable risk factors for bowel cancer – including consumption of red and processed meat, alcohol, fruits and vegetables, fibre and engagement in physical activity – download this free resource – Modifiable Risk Factors – Understanding Bowel Cancer.